Pass the mic

Women in Kathmandu protest sexual violence in Nepal. Photo: Courtesy Ajhai kati sahane

The Twitter post stopped my scrolling thumb in mid-air. I don’t remember who wrote it, but it said something like, “You don’t need to speak up for marginalized people — just pass the microphone so they can speak for themselves.”

Wow! It was one of those moments when you can almost feel your mind shift.

Continue reading “Pass the mic”

“I’m not an entertainer” — Rauniyar

A screenshot of an audio clip of filmmaker Deepak Rauniyar on a recent episode of Nepal Now podcast.

Filmmaker Deepak Rauniyar says his role is to examine the society he grew up in (south-eastern Nepal), not to make movies that entertain. That said, the director recently told the Nepal Now podcast that his upcoming film he will try to deliver his social commentary wrapped up in the genre of a police thriller.

Continue reading ““I’m not an entertainer” — Rauniyar”

To fix unhealthy diets: activism before ‘an apple a day’

Marty_Logan_blog_health_environment_070419Kudos to CBC News reporter Kelly Crowe for this article about a recent global health study on the deadly impact of unhealthy eating, in which she goes beyond simply presenting the newest numbers to discuss the ‘why’.

The news itself is shocking: in 2017  poor diets worldwide caused 11 million deaths, concludes the report, published in The Lancet journal. Eating too much salt and not enough whole grains and fruits were the major culprits.

Obstacles to healthy eating

But what Crowe also highlights are those factors that are beyond the control of individuals and are known as ‘environmental determinants of health’. These range from absent or misleading labels on food packages to prominent placement of junk food in supermarkets to the unaffordability of the fruits, vegetables and other healthy food that we’re supposed to be eating more of to prevent those 11 million deaths. Continue reading “To fix unhealthy diets: activism before ‘an apple a day’”

To the Nepal media: it’s no accident!


This has bothered me for a long time, and just Tweeting about it to my *massive* following (@martydlogan) hasn’t had any impact to date, so I’m writing this post. To be clear, I’m not doing this to ‘make fun’ of anyone’s English. In fact, I don’t think this is a case of using words unintentionally but that the words chosen reflect a cultural trait (the power of ‘fate’ in Nepal) but I’ll leave that research to interested experts.

The daily media in Nepal* continually reports about “ill-fated” road accidents, or that a vehicle “met with an accident”. The connotation is that the crash was inevitable or, in the second phrase, that the accident itself was actually the actor in the incident. This is rubbish, and I hope this style of writing will change soon because I believe that reporting the real causes of the carnage on Nepal’s roads would be one positive step in reducing it. Continue reading “To the Nepal media: it’s no accident!”

In-depth reporting on Nepal’s elections

Most English-language media in Kathmandu reporting on ongoing local elections have limited themselves to noting the numerical quotas for low-caste, ‘Dalit’, candidates.

But the Centre for Investigative Journalism (CIJ) went a step further by interviewing a group of Dalit women in Saptari district, including candidates, voters and would-be voters. (Why would someone be a ‘would-be’ voter? Click on the article link below to find out). Continue reading “In-depth reporting on Nepal’s elections”

Whose story is it anyway?

Do I tell stories for my audience’? Stories that I can sell? Or can I work love into my development stories?


Female community health volunteers (FCHVs) from Binauna VDC having a laugh – at my expense if I remember correctly.

Please indulge me as I navel-gaze briefly.

I last worked full-time as a journalist in 2007, but I’m proud to tell people that I think I’ll always be a journalist at heart. One implication is that when I visit a place like Binauna VDC*, in Banke district in south western Nepal, I am automatically sniffing for stories. Continue reading “Whose story is it anyway?”

No burning cruisers, but more arrests over shale gas in New Brunswick

You wouldn’t know it from reading Canada’s ‘national media’, but the confrontation over shale gas exploration in New Brunswick is continuing, watched over by a hefty police presence. A clash between police and aboriginal protesters opposed to the exploration made the news in October when the demonstrators set police cruisers alight.

Pictures of anything burning are great for media ratings.

But this issue deserves more than fleeting attention. Five people were arrested at the site Friday for trying to stop the work, by Houston-based SWN Resources Canada. SWN obtained an injunction against the demonstrators on Nov. 22 and is seeking an extension next Monday, according to APTN news.

Earlier in the week a local journalist was arrested, for the third time, while covering the protests.

Journalist Miles Howe arrested for covering anti-fracking protests
Journalist Miles Howe of Halifax Media Co-op was arrested covering the protests, for the 3rd time, on Nov. 26. (c) Allan Marsh, Acadie Nouvelle

What’s happening at Elsipogtog deserves more attention from the mainstream media not only because of these arrests but because shale gas exploitation is increasing in North America, but remains controversial. Continue reading “No burning cruisers, but more arrests over shale gas in New Brunswick”

Nepal’s journalists still targets of political parties

Two dozen journalists in Far West Nepal were forced to flee their towns and villages last week after threats from individuals linked to the Maoist party that rules from the capital Kathmandu.

Read this summary from the Committee to Protect Journalists.

This sort of political interference in Nepal’s media has been going on for years – practised by all political parties – and, sadly, shows little signs of improving. When I lived in Kathmandu (2005-10) I participated in a few of the numerous meetings between the international community and media organizations to try and find solutions to the problem but none of them seems to have had much impact.

Nepal was ranked 118th among the world’s countries in the World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders on Wednesday, a drop of 12 places from 2011.

“The ability of journalists to work freely in Pakistan and Nepal continued to worsen in the absence of any government policy to protect media workers.”

– World Press Freedom Index, 2012.

Why are Nepal’s political players able to target the country’s journalists with such impunity? Is it because the tiny country is such a minor player in the world that the international community doesn’t really care? Or the inverse: that because Nepal is situated so strategically – between China and India – and is used to playing the Asian giants off of one another, that it has no fear of threats from the rest of the international community?

Whatever the cause(s), it is beyond time that Nepal’s journalists were able to practise their trade without fearing for their lives.

Did the poll really find ”hardened” attitudes toward aboriginal Canadians?

(c) Oiwi TV.

That’s what the headline on the Globe and Mail website said on Wednesday, and that was also the lead of the news release on the Ipsos-Reid website:

“Last week’s protests by First Nations activists appear to have had a hardening effect on Canadian public opinion regarding Aboriginal issues, according to a new poll conducted by Ipsos Reid on behalf of the National Post/Postmedia News and Global Television.”

I know very little about polling but when I read through the release, I started to wonder about that lead. Here’s what I found:

1 result that found attitudes had hardened compared to earlier responses to the same question:
•    “Most of the problems of native peoples are brought on by themselves (60% nationally, up 25 points from 35% in 1989.”

3 results that found attitudes unchanged or softened:
•    “While there’s general support for resolving land claims to provide Aboriginal Peoples with the land and resources needed to become self-sufficient (63%) and for the federal government to act now to raise the quality of life for Aboriginal peoples (63%, unchanged from July 2010).”
•    “Canada’s Aboriginal peoples receive too much support from Canadian taxpayers. Two thirds (64%) nationally share this view — unchanged from July 2012.”
•    “Canada’s Aboriginal peoples are treated well by the Canadian Government. Two thirds (62%) nationally share this sentiment, down from 66% in July 2012.” Continue reading “Did the poll really find ”hardened” attitudes toward aboriginal Canadians?”

Hockey deaths overshadow First Nations’ tragedy

This week, Canada’s national media has been awash with news about the death of another professional hockey player – the third in 4 months.

Like the others, Wade Belak was an ‘enforcer’, a player put on a team’s roster to physically intimidate opponents and protect his more skilled teammates, often by dropping his gloves and fighting other teams’ enforcers.

Belak killed himself, and his death signals an urgent need to assess the support that is being offered to these players, both during and after their careers.

Five other deaths, including one this week, have received much less attention.

In less than two months, 4 teenage girls and a 26-year-old man have killed themselves in the Pikangikum First Nations reserve in northwestern Ontario, according to an official there.

Pikangikum, an isolated northern community 600 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay, is no stranger to suicide. In 2000, 8 young girls living in the community took their own lives. A 2004 article in the Canadian Journal of Native Studies said Pikangikum had a suicide rate of 470 deaths per 100,000, which is one of the highest in the world, and 36 times the national average, reported the Ottawa Citizen newspaper.

“We have no running water. We have no sewer system. We have 2,400 people living in 400 homes,” a Pikangikum official told the Citizen. “And the government is nowhere to be seen.

“Most of the youth don’t have any privacy, even in their own homes. Most of them have to share rooms,” added the official.

Whatever the reasons for this long-running tragedy – and they are bound to be many and complex – it certainly merits the sort of attention that the media has been focusing on the hockey deaths this week.

Read a report released by Ontario’s Chief Coroner on Friday

Listen to CBC radio’s interview with Ontario’s Chief Coroner.

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